As part of the island kajiba project, reclaimed and natural materials were used to construct a larger traditional style charcoal making kiln. The basic concept is a simple chamber with a door on one end and a chimney on the other, insulated and sealed by being buried in clay/soil, and roofed to keep off the rain.
After more than six years of successful forging with charcoal made in the Charcoal Kiln V.3, the kajiba project afforded the opportunity to create a more permanent kiln for making charcoal. The Iwasaki kiln, a scaled down and modified version of a traditional Japanese charcoal making kiln, is relatively easy to build, load, tend, is long lasting, makes consistent charcoal batches, and is still my first recommendation for those wishing to begin learning to make charcoal for blacksmithing and bladesmithing.
Other than size, the main difference between the Iwasaki~san’s design and this traditional style charcoal kiln is that there is no separation between the combustion chamber and the pyrolization chamber other than the fuel materials and kiln loading itself. Carefully controlling the airflow into and out of the kiln during operation is the key to making quality charcoal with efficiency. Materials used in this project were mainly earth, stones, reclaimed wood, and scrap steel that was on hand.
Laying the Foundation
Fabricating the Interior
Building the Frame
Insulating with Soil
Roof and Finishing Details
A curated video playlist of making and using traditional charcoal kilns in Japan, the first two videos are for swordsmithing charcoal, followed by other styles mainly for cooking and grilling charcoal: